Rugby New York re-signed Nate Brakeley for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 33-year-old lock/flanker is 6’5”, and 260 lbs.
Nate played 1101 minutes in 16 matches, starting 14, and was the team’s captain for most of the season. He has made 51 MLR appearances since the team entered the league in 2019.
Nate has been a key performer for the team since his arrival in the 2018 exhibition season. He has been the team’s vice-captain since 2020. He also led the league with All-MLR Weekly selections in 2021. In 2021 he played 1162 minutes in his 15 starts and scored one try.
In 2020 he started the first match as a blindside flanker, but a team injury early in the first match had him return as a lock, where he started the remaining four matches. He was the team’s tackle leader with 79 and his breakdown arrival was off the charts for the league.
Nate played in 15 matches for New York in 2019 and was tied with Ben Foden with the most minutes with 1200. He was the team leader with 238 tackles and carried for 322 meters. He was second in the League in lineout steals with 7 and in the top ten in lineout takes with 50. He was named to the ALL-MLR First XV team and following the season, represented the USA National Team at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Brakeley is from Marblehead, Massachusetts, and was introduced to rugby during his freshman year at St. John’s Prep. While there he also played as a lineman in football. After graduating, he went to Dartmouth College and helped to lead the team to the 2011 and 2012 Collegiate Rugby Championships. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 2012 with an M.Phil. in Energy Technology. He continued with rugby and played for Cambridge in the Varsity Match 26-19 loss to Oxford University. He also played for the team against the USA Men’s Collegiate All-Americans. Since Fall, of 2013 he has played for New York Athletic Club. In 2015, he helped Winged Foot win the USA Club Rugby Division 1 National Championship.
Nate Brakeley & USA National Team
Brakeley debuted for the Eagles (No. 469) against Canada on February 13, 2016, at the Americas Rugby Championship and played flanker in the team’s 30-22 win over Canada. Since then, Brakeley has earned 30 caps (23 starts) and scored one try against Canada in the team’s 52-16 win in winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup Qualifier. He played in the Americas Rugby Championship since 2106 and in the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup. His last test was against New Zealand on October 23, 2021.
Nate was also selected for the 2018 USA Rugby Selects for the Americas Pacific Challenge. In 2019 he started twice at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Nate Brakeley and Professional Rugby
Like many rugby players in the New York area, employment concerns have impacted signing with professional teams outside the area. The onset of Major League Rugby has created new opportunities for players. Brakeley signed with Rugby United New York for their 2018 three-match exhibition season and has continued with the team since then while maintaining a full-time position as a senior data analyst. The Rugby Player Podcast – Nate Brakeley